There’s not much of a rivalry between the Bills and Texans. This is mostly due to the fact that the Texans entered the NFL in 2002. Considering the fact that they’re not in the same division, outside rivalries are generally made in the postseason. That said, Houston didn’t have much success as a franchise in its early years and saw their first playoff berth in 2011. We all know the Bills haven’t been to the postseason since 1999. While there’s not much history to explore, here’s an overview of the series.
Head-to-Head Regular Season Match-ups: 6
Bills Record: 3-3
Winning Percentage: .500
Points Scored: 106
Points Allowed: 116
The series has been pretty tight. Buffalo started by winning three of their first four match-ups but have lost their last two games to the Texans. In terms of points scored, the differential of 10 is pretty minimal.
There will be some familiar faces for Texans and Bills fans on Sunday. First, Mario Williams will be returning to Houston for the second time since joining the Bills. Houston made Williams the first overall pick in the 2006 NFL draft. In six seasons with the Texans, Williams racked up 53 sacks, a team record. J.J. Watt will likely own that record soon, as he needs 15 sacks to pass Williams.
Mario Williams doesn’t seem too concerned about his return to Houston or how he’ll be received by fans:
”I don’t know. I don’t really care,” he said. ”I don’t even understand why that is even is a topic of discussion.”
Bills fans will also see a familiar face on Sunday, although it’s heavily covered by a beard. Ryan Fitzpatrick, the starting QB of the Texans, previously played with the Bills from 2009-2012.
Unlike Williams, Fitzpatrick seems eager to play against his former squad and see some of his friends.
“This is a special game for me, I think partly just because I’ve got so many great friends still that are over on the other side of the ball, guys that I’m going to be excited to watch,” he said. “I’m sure they’re going to be excited to hit me and to watch me play.”
Fitzpatrick’s main priority is getting the win and moving the Texans to 3-1. That said, Fitzpatrick is having trouble getting some people to cheer for him on Sunday.
“I’m still trying to convince my seven-year-old in this game at least to be a Texans fan and not a Bills fan,” Fitzpatrick said. “And then my youngest daughter was born in Buffalo. So we’re kind of a torn household right now. But I’m trying to convince them that we’ve got to root for the Texans now.”
Here’s to hoping that Fitzpatrick’s seven-year-old and youngest daughter have something to celebrate tomorrow afternoon.
Through four weeks, I’m picking the Bills four times. I’m not a Bills homer, I promise. The Bills were never going to be 16-0 or 15-1 for that matter, but I don’t see them losing this game.
Last week, the Bills faced off with an elite quarterback. Considering the team was at home, I thought they could pull off a victory against one of the best teams in the league. It didn’t happen that way, but this week is different.
Ryan Fitzpatrick is no Philip Rivers. He’s not as accurate, doesn’t have the same arm strength and he won’t convert 3rd downs as consistently as Rivers did. Sure, Fitzpatrick is intelligent (HE WENT TO HARVARD!), but that only takes you so far as an NFL quarterback. If the Bills play their type of football, they’ll win this game and move to 2-0 on the road.
The formula is simple. Run. Run early, run often, and run plays similar to what the Giants used last week. Against Houston, Rashad Jennings of the Giants ran for 176 yards on 34 carries. No offense to Jennings, but C.J. Spiller and Fred Jackson are better backs. Buffalo’s offensive line will have to open running lanes, something they struggled with last week. That said, we saw in the first two weeks that it’s possible for lanes to open up and for the backs to get good gains. Running the ball will success will keep the Texans’ defense back and allow Manuel time to pass the play when needed. One player the Bills need to keep away from Manuel is J.J. Watt. The team should run plays at Watt in hopes of keeping him from at bay. Watt is an extremely aggressive defensive end and this is the best way to keep him away from Manuel.
If the Bills get behind, it’ll be very difficult for Manuel to play catch-up. That’s why running with success is extremely important. It keeps the Bills on the field, tires out the Texans defense and keeps Buffalo’s defense fresh, something that didn’t happen last week. As for the Bills defense, the run defense needs to continue to dominate as it has all season. In the passing game, the Bills will have their hands full with guys like Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins, but Fitzpatrick has to get the ball to them. Buffalo’s defensive backs need to stay close to the receivers and make plays on Fitzpatrick’s passes. As Bills fans, we all know there will be some errant passes thrown by Fitz. It’s important for the Bills to jump on these passes and create turnovers. This is going to be a tight game and a low scoring affair. The winner of the turnover battle will be the winner of this game.
Final score prediction: Bills 19 – Texans 13